The region of Central Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) may be perceived as an attractive market for internationally active Swiss companies. Even before the outbreak of pandemic, all four countries realized the potential of telemedicine and ehealth solutions. Various factors facilitating the development of telemedicine in the region may be summarized as follows:
- Challenges of public healthcare. Public healthcare spending in Central Eastern Europe remains below the OECD average which accounted for 8.8% of GDP in 2018. This leads to serious challenges with i.a. accessibility of physicians and quality of services provided.
- Importance of private healthcare providers. Growing purchasing power and willingness in the society to pay out of pocket for healthcare services contributed to tremendous development of private providers. The largest market for private healthcare in the region is Poland with 2.6. million Poles having a private medical insurance as of 2019, 23% more than in 2017. Private health insurance remains a common employee benefit.
- Openness towards new technologies and international cooperation. Private healthcare providers are pioneers in introducing the telemedical solutions. Worth noticing is, that at the beginning of 2020 the market leader in Poland in that field - LuxMed Group, started testing remote assessment of health and oral hygiene in cooperation with the Swiss company Straumann.
- Existing legal frameworks and government strategies. Telemedicine services would not be possible without legal framework, which all four countries have introduced already. Furthermore, all four analysed countries run governmental e-health policies, such as e-prescriptions, e-referrals and e-medical leave that have become a norm.
- Change of habits due to pandemic. Pandemic forced the healthcare sector to adapt quickly and provide majority of consultations remotely. According to survey mentioned in the report, the majority of patients will continue using the telemedical services after the pandemic will be over.
- IT-competences. The IT sector is especially strong in Poland and Czech Republic with various initiatives existing in the field of ehealth. Well established local enterprises may be regarded as solid pool of potential business partners.
The link to the whole report on the potential of medtech market in Central Eastern Europe is displayed below.
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